In 2003, the town was persuaded by MAGIC, with Bruce McLean at the helm, to support a Community Development Block Grant loan application for Brims Ness. The town also provided Brims Ness with a $50,000 loan. The reasons Brims Ness gave for choosing Millinocket at that time were a skilled and motivated workforce, availability of the E & R building, the town’s proximity to the University of Maine and Millinocket’s reception to their pursuit of necessary funding.
Brims Ness owner, John Merrill, according to the grant application, agreed to create a minimum of 25 jobs on or before Sept. 30, 2005. The company’s human resource director, Carl Schreier, told Millinocket Area Rotary members at this time that while the first year would see 20 to 25 people employed, it would only be the start of what they hoped would be into the hundreds.
Much ado was made about this company’s move to the E&R building with Bruce McLean crowing about how it was only the beginning of major economic development for the town.
Even while admitting that the building would need repairs costing in the millions to bring it up to par, McLean plowed ahead with his attempt to bring businesses to the building.
Next, McLean gave the green light on bringing in the Community Press which he considered an “anchor tenant”.
Now here we are in 2005 with Brims Ness requesting a moratorium on their loan payment and then an additional extension to that before moving from the E&R building. The town has never seen the jobs that were promised or anything else from Brims Ness. A provision exists that requires the town to repay the loan for Brims Ness if it fails it’s obligation and they are talking about moving on to greener pastures in search of more funding. What ever happened to being “90 days from production”?
The Community Press has sold out leaving unpaid debt. These are just a couple of MAGIC’s success stories.
What does the town of Millinocket have to show for any of this besides debt? On top of this we came very close to having our tax dollars dumped into repairs on the E&R building which we do not even own, thanks to MAGIC supportive councilors and Bruce McLean.
This is what happens when there is no accountability. It is a lesson that we should always demand accountability for our tax dollars. I am unaware of anyone else who does not. Accountability keeps the dishonest in check, and the honest will appreciate the opportunity to openly reveal their progress. Anyone unwilling to have accountability should be questioned about their motives and honesty. Legitimate dealings never avoid accountability because they have no need to. Integrity and accountability go hand in hand with trust and honesty.
Try voicing an unsupportive opinion of MAGIC with a MAGIC supporter in the room, and you will not be allowed to speak your opinion and will be verbally assaulted with rudeness for your thoughts. Why is this so? If MAGIC is what its supporters would have you believe, it should be able to stand on its own merits regardless of any opposing opinion. Why then are it’s supporters so vehement with their denials?
What do we have to show for our tax dollars that MAGIC has spent and why are we even considering giving them any more?